The beauties of Cyprus have been celebrated since antiquity but it is the medieval monuments which make the deepest effect on the mind of the modern visitor. It is astonishing to find in the far Eastern Mediterranean cathedrals, monasteries and palaces in the French Gothic style and castles as romantic as the precipitous crags to which they cling. They represent the achievement of the kings of the Lusignan dynasty who came from Poitou to reign for nearly three hundred years over the island that gave birth to Venus. They brought with them the Gothic style and were proud to adorn their island kingdom with the finest examples of it.
It is fitting that the most scholarly and thorough study of the legacy of the Lusignans should be the work of one of the greatest of French medieval archaeologists, author of the Manuel d’archéologie française in four volumes. Camille Enlart was inspired by the idea that he was instructing his fellow-countrymen in a neglected chapter of their own architectural history.
His book, L’art gothique et la Renaissance en Chypre, published in 1899, is a classic of French archaeology. It is comprehensive and thorough; there are 430 line-drawings in this edition, 421 of them by the author. Its special value lies in the wide range of his scholarship and depth of his knowledge; every detail of every building is illuminated by parallels drawn from western Gothic. Besides all this he recounts in a dashing style the history of Cyprus during his chosen period and relates it to the surviving monuments. As the standard work on the subject it is not likely to be superseded.